Respecting Life in New York

Sunday is always colorful, interesting, and inspirational at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, as thousands from all over the world crowded in for prayer, to light a votive candle, or to worship at one of a dozen Masses.

Last Sunday seemed even more so.  I started the day meeting the leadership of our Knights of Columbus, the largest volunteer organization in the country.  We spoke about our common efforts to protect the innocent, fragile life of the baby in the womb, but also about their sterling work to assist poor, mostly immigrant children attend our first-rate inner city Catholic schools, and their touching initiatives on behalf of our “special kids” with physical and mental challenges.

It was frigid outside as I processed to the Cathedral for 10:15 Mass, and I noticed a larger than usual number of police officers.  When I asked why, I was told that a Fundamentalist sect had warned that they would protest in front of St. Patrick’s, to blast the Church for being “gay-friendly,” for welcoming people with same-sex attractions, and for the teaching of the catechism that gays were God’s children, with an inherent right to dignity and respect.  Nothing new – – these fringe folks had picketed us before.

Sunday’s was a special “Right-to-Life” Mass, penance for the tragedy of abortion on demand, and recommitment to the civil right to life for the baby in the womb.  The Knights were there, as mentioned earlier, and the Mass as SRO with others in the pro-life movement.  The Sisters of Life were there, for instance, with mothers and their babies who had gotten through a “problem pregnancy” with the sisters’ love.  A high school basketball team from California, on their way to a championship game, then to D.C. for the renowned March for Life on Wednesday were there, and there was the police officer, his wife, three other children, and their new baby, whom I would have the joy of christening after Mass.  That beautiful new baby had Down’s Syndrome, reason enough for an abortion, as 90% of such babies are aborted, in this culture Pope Francis calls “throwaway.”  Not for this loving family!

After the moving Mass, back out to the cold, in yet another “Pro Life” project, the Feeding Our Neighbor initiative, sponsored by Catholic Charities and the United Jewish Appeal.  Last year, 900,000 meals were provided the hungry by the food donated in parishes and synagogues last Sabbath and next.

A reporter asked if the scheduling of the event had anything to do with the Birthday of Reverend Martin Luther King.  I replied that the date was chosen since it’s the coldest time of the year; when a lot of the food donated at Christmas had already run out; because it was close to the January 22nd Respect Life observance, and to feed the hungry was sure pro-life; and, yes, because Reverend King preached the Bible, that all are God’s children, made in his image and likeness, and that wherever life was threatened – – violence, poverty, hunger, discrimination, abortion – – God’s People defend it.

On the way back into the Cathedral, I greeted many of the great folks from the Dominican Republic, now proud New Yorkers, jamming St. Patrick’s for their feast of “Our Lady of Altagracia.”  I know so many of them as Catholics active in immigration reform, pro-life, curbing of gun-violence in their neighborhood, and keeping our inner-city schools open for their kids.

A good Sunday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral . . .does any of this seem “extremist” to you?

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8 Responses to “Respecting Life in New York”

  1. joey says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    “It was frigid outside as I processed to the Cathedral for 10:15 Mass, and I noticed a larger than usual number of police officers. When I asked why, I was told that a Fundamentalist sect had warned that they would protest in front of St. Patrick’s, to blast the Church for being “gay-friendly,” for welcoming people with same-sex attractions, and for the teaching of the catechism that gays were God’s children, with an inherent right to dignity and respect. Nothing new – – these fringe folks had picketed us before.”

    Seriously? So hinting that you are “welcoming” of people with same-sex attractions actually means that you are? You said nothing about last years anti-gay attacks in the city, nor have you said anything about the LGBT teen suicides, such as Tyler Clementi’s case, a few years ago, BUT, you publicize your case against same-sex marriage……. I understand the Church’s position against same-sex marriage, though I disagree with it and am respectful to those who view it that way. However, you cannot put on a façade of being LGBT-friendly when you did not even address the violence and suicide.

  2. Dave says:

    Following up on Joey’s comment…I’ve often wondered why no Catholic Bishops, to the best of my knowledge, did an “it gets better” video when many others in society were making such videos to dissuade gay teens who are victims of bullying from committing suicide. Certainly opposing bullying is a Catholic value as is promoting tolerance. And what could be more pro-life than trying to dissuade victims of bullying from taking their own lives? I’ve always been dismayed by the fact that our Church’s leaders in the U.S. didn’t offer this encouraging message to victims of bullying while others in society did.

  3. Thomas says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    As practicing Catholics, it disturbs us greatly to see in-name-only Catholic officials, that support abortion, receiving the Holy Eucharist, when the server knows full well that these people are pushing the murder of unborn innocents. When will the Church take a stand and EXCOMMUNICATE people such as Cuomo(who now says Right to Life People are not welcome to NY State), Biden, and Pelosi, who constantly push abortion, yet, are seen receiving Communion in news shows. When we go to confession, we promise not to repeat the sins we confess, but these politicians continue to push abortion, and show no remorse. Please don’t tell me that we don’t know what is in their heart. Their words and actions speak for their heart, over and over again.

  4. Germaine Murray says:

    Will you be commenting on Andrew Cuomo’s latest prejudicial comments about pri-lifers?? Many of us are waiting for the Metropolitan’s response and are concerned there has been none.

  5. Dottie Day says:

    When you let the established meaning of being “pro-life” include feeding, clothing, sheltering born individuals, you give pro-abortion Catholics justification to call themselves pro-life even when they aren’t. It is misleading to offer many, many Catholics, especially those from the cafeteria generations, spiritual rationalization for the mortal sin of abortion. At the March for Life yesterday, there were no signs about feeding or clothing the poor.

    Besides, it took the pro-life movement 40 years to influence the cultural understanding of the word pro-life. Pro-life means anti-abortion. Even the journalists for the Culture of Death get it. In today’s Washington Post in their coverage of the March they desribe the crowd as abortion foes and opponents of abortion. That says it all right there. They can’t hardly use it — and you want to water it down to be all feel good acts of charity.

  6. Dear Cardinal Dolan:

    Please say something publicly to Governor Cuomo relative to his statement that pro-life people are no longer welcome in the State of New York.

    What an appalling statement…More worthy of Nazi than an American.

    John McCarthy

  7. Joan says:

    Such energy, vitality and enthusiasm you have in doing the Lord’s work, Cardinal Dolan! Continue to proclaim the teachings of our Catholic Church with your loving and charming personality. You are God’s gift to us. Thank you for sharing a typical day in spreading the Word of God.

  8. Frances says:

    If there is no place in New York State for an “extremist” like me
    , why is there a place in the Catholic Church for Mr. Cuomo?